The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—2:30 am: Gen. Wesley Clark testifies in the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic —9:30 am: President Bush signs the CAN-SPAM Act, The White House —9:45 am: Off-camera press gaggle with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —11:00 am: Sen. John Kerry gives a major foreign policy speech at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa —11:00 am: Rev. Al Sharpton receives formal endorsements from New York Reps. Jose Serrano and Ed Towns and speaks about Saddam Hussein's capture at City Hall, New York City —11:30 am.: Sen. Joe Lieberman gives a major speech about the economy and foreign policy at Electropac Co. Inc., Manchester, N.H. —12:30 pm: On-camera press briefing with White House Press Secretary McClellan —12:30 pm: Gov. Howard Dean speaks at a rally, Sun City, Ariz. —1:05 pm: President Bush signs four bills and participates in photo opportunities for African-American history, veterans, aviation, and hometown heroes, The White House —1:50 pm: President Bush signs the American Dream Downpayment Act, HUD Building, D.C. —2:30 pm: Rep. Dennis Kucinich speaks to the San Francisco Bar Association, San Francisco —3:30 pm: Amb. Carol Moseley Braun appears on CNN's "Inside Politics" —4:00 pm: Gov. Dean speaks at a rally, Yuma, Ariz. —5:15 pm: President and Mrs. Bush attend the Diplomatic Corps Holiday at the Blair House, D.C. —6:00 pm: Sen. Lieberman visits diners at Martha's Exchange restaurant, Nashua, N.H. —6:40 pm: Gov. Dean attends a rally, Sierra Vista, Ariz. —8:00 pm: President Bush is interviewed by ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer on a special edition of Primetime —9:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a fundraiser and forum with Rep. Lynn Woolsey at Dominican University, San Rafael, Calif. —9:25 pm: Gov. Dean attends a rally, Las Cruces, N.M. —9:45 pm: Gen. Clark is greeted by Kosovar Albanians at Logan Airport, Boston

NEWS SUMMARY

Diane Sawyer's world exclusive interview with President Bush — the timing of which is described by the New York Post as akin to winning the lottery — will be previewed on World News Tonight and shown in full on the ABC television network at 8 pm ET this very day.

At ABC News, we don't just wait for luck to fall in our collective laps, however — we go out and make it happen.

So while you sit back and wait for this big time, primetime Primetime event — starting in less than 12 hours!! — you can occupy yourselves with the political world's new favorite spectator sport: watching to see if the Democrats Not Named "Dean" can use the capture of Saddam Hussein to topple a man they see as nearly as despotic and illegitimate as the former Iraqi strongman.

Today, Senators Kerry and Lieberman plan foreign policy addresses that seem more about continuing to try to dislodge Dean as they are about laying out their own visions.

While the questions being raised are intended to go to Dean's judgment, experience, and general election viability, it's not clear how this group gang-up (along with Clark, Edwards, and Gephardt) is going so far.

But you can bet that they are watching things closely in Burlington, where they feign disdain as a matter of course.

In some ways, the most frontal assault on Dean's foreign policy creds is coming from the shadows.

But the press is finally shining its flashlight on the mushrooming world of the 527s, giving that nicely named "Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Progressive Values" a shot of sun as it rails against the perils of unregulated money and groups whose donors aren't known to the light of day.

Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times calls the group's latest anti- Dean attack ad featuring Osama Bin Laden "by far the toughest commercial of the primary election season." LINK

You can see the ad for yourself, conveniently linked from the Dean campaign website as a fundraising tool. LINK

We really, really want to see more stories on this group and who is funding it, given just how much money it's spending, just how negative its spots are, and just how closely linked its organizers are to at least a few of the Gang of Eight.

And we promise we are working on it, too.

The Washington Post 's ed board goes hard on Dick Gephardt, writing, "You'd think a statement of support for openness might carry some weight, given how many of Mr. Gephardt's fans are bankrolling the organization. Mr. Gephardt was a moving force behind campaign finance reform. His lack of interest in the subject now is telling." LINK

Note that the Washington Post weighed in on the group Saturday as well, asking whether the money behind the group is "from unions that back Mr. Gephardt but don't want to be publicly connected to this anti-Dean campaign? At least some such unions have been solicited. Or is it from a few wealthy donors who don't like Mr. Dean — and perhaps are backing another one of the trailing Democratic candidates? From Republicans who want to take Mr. Dean down a few notches? There's no way for a voter in Iowa to know, not in time for that information to make a difference." LINK

As one labor donor who gave to the group told us here at The Note "the (earlier) gun ad certainly isn't what was expected and there is some disappointment about that."

Stay tuned, dear readers … we promise there'll be more.

Today is also special because it is the day on which America traditionally celebrates The Day After Donna Brazile's birthday.

It's also Lieberman spokesguy Jano Cabrera's very special 30th birthday (The man doesn't act, erh, seem a day over 23 … .) and the indeterminate birthday of the woman about whom Senator John Edwards (D-Robbins) tells The Note: "Our Tiger is smart, sweet and feisty as a gamecock. All of at the Edwards campaign wish her the happiest of birthdays."

As for Cabrera, Senator Lieberman tells The Note: "I want to publicly wish my Minister of Information Jano Cabrera a happy 30th birthday. I value his skills tremendously and want the world to know that if I were President today, Jano Cabrera would be in power, not in prison."

President Bush has his interview with ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer, signs various bills and attends the Diplomatic Corps Holiday in Washington, D.C. today.

Gov. Dean campaigns in Arizona and New Mexico today.

Senator Kerry gives a major foreign policy speech in Iowa this morning and attends fundraisers in New Jersey tonight.

Senator Lieberman gives a major speech in New Hampshire on the economy that will also touch on foreign policy.

Gen. Wesley Clark continues his testimony in the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic today. He returns tonight to Boston, where he will be greeted at the airport by Kosovar Albanians.

Senator Edwards and Rep. Gephardt have no public events today.

Amb. Moseley Braun appears on CNN's "Inside Politics" this afternoon.

Rev. Sharpton receives the endorsement of two New York congressmen and speaks about Saddam Hussein's capture in New York today.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich attends a fundraiser and speaks to the San Francisco Bar Association today.

The politics of capture:

Writing on the president's news conference, David Sanger Notes the Iraqi "transition to self-governance is scheduled to begin in the summer, just months before the American presidential election. Mr. Bush, appearing buoyed by the weekend's events, announced, almost as an aside, that he would be running in that election." LINK

David Von Drehle does a news analysis in the Washington Post in which he plays Derida, deconstructing the words of President Bush and Governor Dean on the war — both seeming to try to play against type. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Harwood and Schlesinger broaden out a bit — still with a Dean focus — looking at what this all does to the Democrats' White House chances, through the prism of the WSJ/Zucker poll.

Jill Lawrence writes herself onto the front page of USA Today with a look at Dr. Dean's foreign policy positioning in the wake of the weekend. LINK

The Washington Post picks up on comments from Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott, who said in an interview that the "U.S. military could have found the former Iraqi dictator 'a long time ago if they wanted.'" LINK

(Note that Dean said in his Monday speech that Saddam's apprehension "could have taken place six months ago.")

Noting the epic moment in the struggle between Bushes 41 and 43 and Saddam Hussein, Todd Purdum writes, "after more than a dozen years, the drama for both generations of Bushes is over. " LINK

Senator Clinton says she is "thrilled" Saddam has been captured and the New York Post calls it "faint praise." LINK

The New York Times picks up on Saturday comments from Gen. Sanchez that the U.S. and allied troops "will have to remain in Iraq for at least 'a couple more years' to secure the country's stability and protect its borders against attack." LINK

The New York Times quotes a detective and National Guard member now in Iraq as saying of the insurgency, "'It doesn't look like it's slowed down whoever is doing this.'" LINK

Ahead of Debt Envoy James Baker's arrival, France "said it would work with other nations to forgive an unspecified portion of Iraq's immense foreign debt," reports the New York Times . LINK

Paul Krugman laments that stories of profiteering and profits have been pushed aside in the wake of Hussein's capture. LINK

He's an M.D.... (not an I.R. Ph.D.):

The New York Times writes up Dean's declaration that "'the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer,'" Noting the Governor's "Democratic opponents immediately seized on the speech to raise new questions about his viability in a general election during a flurry of hastily scheduled conference calls as well as in their own planned campaign events." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny writes up the Dean speech, Noting, "While Dean and his senior strategists insisted Hussein's capture would not complicate his candidacy, there were signs of concern." LINK

The Boston Herald's Noelle Straub writes that the president took a "reluctant shot" at Dean. LINK

The Washington Post 's Balz and VandeHei trump those who claimed that yesterday's effort was Dean's "first" major foreign policy address (It was like his third … ), and have this paragraph, which tracks quite nicely with ABC News' reporting: LINK

"Private polling by one campaign last week showed Dean opening up a big lead in Iowa and holding on to his commanding lead in New Hampshire after his endorsement by former vice president Al Gore."

The Los Angeles Times' Mark Barabak Notes Dean's speech "largely amounted to a recitation of positions he had previously stated." :LINK

Glen Johnson got some frequent flyer miles heading out to Los Angeles to cover the Dean speech. LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Deirdre Shesgreen reports that "Dean's rhetoric overall on Iraq seemed more tempered than his usual campaign speeches." LINK

The Hartford Courant's David Lightman describes an "uncharacteristically somber" speech delivered by Howard Dean and looks at his search for some foreign policy street cred. LINK

Knight Ridder's Steve Thomma and Roddie Burris write Dean "brushed off the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as meaningless to the war on terrorism." LINK

The Des Moines Register 's Beaumont and Norman on the Dean speech, Noting "Dean supporters said they agree with the sentiment, but some questioned the timing of his remarks." LINK

The New York Post 's Vince Morris writes, "Dean hoped to plug gaps in his résumé by laying out a broad foreign policy portfolio." LINK

Very smartly analyzing Dean's speech, the Des Moines Register 's David Yepsen Notes, "Saddam's capture put Iraq, foreign policy and the question of whether or not it was smart to go to war back at the center of the Democratic campaign," and wonders whether Democrats still can feel comfortable with Gov. Dean at their helm. LINK

The Wall Street Journal ed board cheers on Lieberman and Gephardt in arguing that the Democratic Party better wise up before it nominates the anti-war Dean.

E.J. Dionne chats up Steve Elmendorf and Mandy Grunwald, and decides that this is the last chance to stop Dean from getting the nomination. LINK

David Brooks, in his New York Times op-ed, points out that Dean's extreme cultural secularism extends to foreign policy theorizing, and suggests that that might not serve him well in a match-up with the current commander in chief. LINK

Tom Oliphant says Dean is weaker now because he opposed the war, but that he is perhaps protected in the nomination fight from the "fact that this (pro-war) bloc may not coalesce behind a single candidate. If it should, all bets are off." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The New York Times ' Stevenson on the Bush Team's balancing act between running for re-election and running the country. Writes Stevenson, "many strategists in both parties say Mr. Bush may well emulate Mr. Clinton and avoid defining himself as a candidate, even if that means leaving to surrogates, for months to come, the task of responding to Democratic attacks, which have come early and with particular intensity in this election cycle." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds was busy counting how often President Bush said "more secure" or "safer" at his 11th formal press conference which she described as a preview to "his reelection campaign themes." LINK

The New York Daily News DeFrank/Bazinet duo heard President Bush "tried hard to avoid gloating" in his "unusually jovial" press conference. LINK

The Post-Sperling breakfast world:

Those lucky enough to assemble this morning under the banner of the Breakfast-Formerly-Known-As-Sperling (we confess we aren't among them) will hear about the launch of a new project called "Women's Voices. Women Vote." The group's organizers call it "a groundbreaking new project to increase the number of unmarried women registering and voting."

The effort, whose research will be conducted by Stan Greenberg and Celinda Lake, aims to get at how unmarried women vote — and why they don't — and "create a 'turnkey' voter registration and get out the vote program for use nationwide."

The group's press release quotes Census figures showing "unmarried women are 46 percent of all voting-age women and 56 percent of all unregistered women … If unmarried women voted at the same rate as married women, there would have been more than six million more voters in the electorate."

Now if only we could get an invite to that breakfast …

Dean:

Gov. Jim McGreevey will be Howard Dean's first gubernatorial endorsement when the two appear together in the Garden State on Friday. LINK

The Newark Star Ledger reports, "The alliance is unexpected. McGreevey has ties to a centrist Democratic group that has criticized Dean as being too liberal, and he has been a strong supporter of President Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq. Dean's fierce opposition to the war anchors his candidacy."

More from the Star Ledger: "McGreevey hopes his endorsement will encourage other Democratic governors to follow suit, the adviser said. But McGreevey's biggest help could be as a fund-raiser. New Jersey historically has been one of the largest sources of campaign contributions in federal elections — in 2000 and 2002, New Jersey ranked eighth — and as governor, McGreevey has excelled at raising money."

With all due respect, we wonder if McGreevey spokesperson Micah Rasmussen was deliberately untruthful with us yesterday or woefully out of the loop when he gave us this response to our inquiry about a possible endorsement:

"Governor McGreevey has not made a decision on an endorsement in the presidential contest. Governor Dean is expected in the state on Friday."

"It has not yet been determined if Governor McGreevey will join Howard Dean when he is in New Jersey on Friday."

We think going with the "no comment" in the Star Ledger story was probably a wise decision.

Deborah Orin is outraged by Howard Dean's behavior at the comedy club fundraiser last week. Orin writes Dean missed his Sister Souljah moment and showed a lack of leadership by not stopping the "hate session." LINK

Gephardt:

From ABC News' Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins:

Even though freezing cold places like northern New Hampshire, Milwaukee, and Detroit were on Gephardt's schedule over the last several days, he chose to leave his winter coat at home in Washington. While campaign staffers and reporters are bracing themselves for bitter January mornings in Iowa, being cold is clearly not at the forefront of Gephardt's mind.

Nevertheless, staffers discussed how they could keep the Congressman from shivering in front of reporters at a Detroit-area press event, held outside in the freezing windy parking lot of the Great Lakes Steel plant. The problem was, the presser couldn't be moved inside since Gephardt planned to go on the offensive, pointing out the enormous number of the plants' jobs that company executives had moved overseas. A young staffer, about Gephardt's size, came to the rescue and cheerfully made the ultimate sacrifice for his boss — and it fit the Congressman quite well. As the staff member stood shivering, Rep. Gephardt also went on the offensive with Howard Dean, noting what he believed to be inconsistencies in Dean's statements on foreign policy.

This morning, minutes after Gephardt and his travel aide (who also does not wear a coat) walked briskly across a Milwaukee airport tarmac to board a private plane to Detroit, Gephardt was asked of his no-coat reasoning. As he browsed the latest on the Rams in the sports pages, he admitted, "I would just lose it". Later, when others asked, he said "I'm from the Midwest. I can stand this cold." As for Iowa, he said, "Yeah … I'll bring a coat there. Maybe a sweater and maybe even gloves!"

Read more from the trail with Gephardt on abcnews.com: LINK

Kerry:

Ed Walsh of the Washington Post lets John Kerry criticize those candidates who have taken unclear positions on the war against Iraq and those candidates who use speechwriters to decide what to say, and Walsh never once types the phrase "it takes one to know one." LINK

The New York Times ' David Halbfinger writes Iowa is now make-or-break for John Kerry. Michael Whouley gets big play. LINK

Drawing on his experience in combat and foreign policy, Senator John Kerry says America needs a president who will not "walk away from a dangerous world" and who will not "walk alone", reports the AP. LINK

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

Thirty-five seniors waited patiently at the Southside Senior Center in Des Moines, Iowa, for the Kerry campaign's "Real Deal Express" to deliver the Senator and a health care address focused on prescription drugs. The duck-booted, yet full-suited, Kerry arrived over thirty minutes late with a strong message … on Iraq. For over half of his time before the Southside seniors, Kerry played to his foreign policy strengths, arguing, "(Saddam's capture) represents an opportunity to finally build the coalition to win the peace that we should have had to win the war."

And although Kerry never used the "D" word, there was a none-too-subtle reference to the former Vermont governor who, almost simultaneously, was addressing the very same issue in California; Kerry tersely stated, " … I think (voters) deserve more than answers recited in a foreign policy speech written by someone else."

This morning at Drake University in Des Moines, Kerry continues to highlight his foreign policy chops in a speech entitled "Foreign Policy in a Post-Saddam World: Rebuilding our Alliances and Iraq". In his speech, Kerry advocates a four-step plan anchored by a common theme for success in Iraq: multilateral cooperation now. The Senator will also defend his Senate vote in favor of the Iraq resolution and challenge those who opposed it.

Read more from the trail with Kerry on abcnews.com: LINK

Clark:

The Washington Post 's Tom Edsall gets over his Friday snub and finally writes up Clark's financial disclosure forms. LINK

The New York Times ' Elaine Sciolino on The General's appearance at The Hague. LINK

From ABC News' Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton:

Even with General Clark overseas in The Hague testifying in the war crimes trial of Milosevic, the news of the day could not be swung away from the capture of Saddam Hussein. [Read below in our Lieberman section to hear about the Lieberman-Lehane exchange.] Late yesterday, Clark appeared on CNN where Paula Zahn asked Clark directly: "If you had been President during this time, where would Saddam Hussein be — in power or in prison?" Clark responded that Hussein would "have probably been brought out of power, in most likely a different process."

Read more from the trail with Clark on abcnews.com: LINK

Edwards:

Edwards said Monday he would prevent a repeat of this year's flu crisis by improving tracking of the disease and speeding vaccine production, reports the AP. LINK

John Wagner reports on Edward's rock star pals, as he jams to music by John Mellencamp and Jack Black. LINK

The Raleigh News and Observer reports that Edwards proposed new steps Monday to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including creation of a Global Nuclear Compact to improve monitoring of weapons programs and punish nations that violate the compact's rules. LINK

From ABC News' Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Riviera:

Even with late edits accommodating the news of Saddam's capture, there was seemingly more debate over which entrance Senator Edwards would use than what his foreign policy speech would contain on Monday at a school library in Des Moines, Iowa.

Reporters looking for entry shots were hustled down four flights of stairs to a loading dock, then back up to the front steps of the building, only to be directed back down again. Was the staff trying to hide shots of Edwards' new 'do? Waiting to unveil it at the podium, where he would be flanked by American flags behind both shoulders? Whatever the reasoning, we missed his entrance but caught the speech in its entirety.

[FYI: The new cut is quite short, especially across the front. Presumably any inclination the Senator might have to run his hands through his hair and out of his eyes is severely diminished.]

In intimate settings Edwards continues to be at once more comfortable and earnest, as opposed to ever-so-slightly halting. Still, this speech was full of detail and deconstruction, which can be a challenge to jazz up and deliver with verve. The meat of the speech: Edwards would establish a new Global Nuclear Compact to reinforce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as propose a new United Nations Security Council resolution to confront other countries threatening to spread weapons to other parts of the world.

Read more from the trail with Edwards on abcnews.com: LINK

Lieberman:

From ABC News' Lieberman campaign reporter Talesha Reynolds:

On the eve of his own "major policy speech" that will focus on the "clear choice" between himself and Dean, Lieberman went after the doctor for his claim that Hussein's capture has not made America safer. Calling the comment "provocative and profoundly disappointing," Lieberman said if Dean believes that "he has climbed into his own spider hole of denial."

On a conference call with reporters, Lieberman added General Clark to his assertion that if Howard Dean were president, Saddam Hussein would be in power today and not in prison. Clark's communications strategist Chris Lehane shot back that if Lieberman had attacked Bush and Cheney in 2000 "the way he attacks fellow Democrats in 2003, George Bush would not be president today and the world would be a better place." The real zinger was Lehane's claim that Lieberman was "buddy-buddy with Bush and Cheney" in the last election and might be "running in the wrong primary."

When ABC News relayed the response to Lieberman Minister of Information Jano Cabrera, he laughed and said, "We welcome any opportunity any day of the week to compare and contrast Joe Lieberman's Democratic credentials to Wesley Clark's. It is laughable to suggest that Joe Lieberman, who's been a Democrat for 30 years, his entire political life … should be criticized by Wes Clark, who actually raised money and voted for the following Republicans: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan's re-election and George Bush." Cabrera added that Clark never spoke out against the recount and it is unclear whether he voted for Al Gore. "We will win this fight every time," he said.

Read more from the trail with Lieberman on abcnews.com: LINK

Kucinich:

From ABC News' Kucinich campaign reporter Melinda Arons:

The Kucinich campaign was all aflutter today with the formal announcement that soul/country/rock queen Bonnie Raitt is joining the lineup of a benefit concert on January 3 that already includes "living legend" Willie Nelson, the Dave Matthews Band's Tim Reynolds, and folk singer Michelle Shocked. The concert will take place in hipster music capital of the world Austin, Tex., and is being billed as "an evening of acoustic music" on the countrified poster now dominating the campaign website's homepage.

Though Raitt hasn't officially endorsed Kucinich just yet, her fellow performers may convince her. Nelson has long been a supporter of the campaign based on Kucinich's support for family farmers and has lent his voice to radio ads for Kucinich in Iowa, and Reynolds has taken to wearing his "Kucinich - A Democrat with Backbone!" t-shirt at concerts and an appearance on "Saturday Night Live." Event organizer Suzanne Thompson said the $45 ticket price was chosen to keep the concert affordable and accessible, but those who want to rub elbows with the stars can do so afterwards for $75 at a special reception.

Read more from the trail with Kucinich on abcnews.com: LINK

Sharpton:

From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

The Serrano and Towns endorsements today come exactly one week after Reverend Sharpton angrily criticized Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean in Harlem — Sharpton's stomping ground. Campaign operatives called it "a slap in the face."

Just three days after Gore's endorsement, the New York Times ran a story titled, "Sharpton's Support Slips Despite National Attention" detailing his loss of support in New York. Sharpton issued a number of threats last week both to local officials who he believes have abandoned him and to Howard Dean. Sharpton released a statement asking "Will the real Howard Dean please stand up?" and shortly thereafter made virtually unnoticed threats to withhold votes with his political machine should Dean be the nominee.

The press conference on the steps of City Hall with two supporters who had expressed their support for the campaign more than a month ago is certainly no coincidence.

Read more from the trail with Sharpton on abcnews.com: LINK

Iowa:

The Des Moines Register 's Lynn Okamoto reports that Arab Americans are pushing for greater involvement in the caucuses. LINK

The Register's Jonathan Roos reports that campaigns are recruiting supporters from "coast to coast" to rally Iowans for the caucuses. LINK

The Register tells potential caucus goers that Dean is up huge in New Hampshire. LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The DNC's Rod O'Connor plays Star Search in looking for someone to produce the show, and gets reminded — yet again — that for Da Mayor and the city, this thing is all about patronage and cash. LINK

VPOTUS to SCOTUS:

As we are heading into the summer convention season we can expect to hear from the Supreme Court regarding Vice President Cheney's Energy Task Force and what, if anything, needs to be disclosed. Watergate and Paula Jones references will no doubt abound. LINK

The AP write up the SCOTUS plan to hear. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Miami Herald 's Peter Wallsten reports that Senator Clinton will make a swing through South Florida today, and Bob Kunst will be "stalking her at every point" along the way. LINK

Bush Administration strategy/personality:

Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel reports that Sec. Powell is doing well after his surgery. LINK

The New York Times reports the Bush administration's "new proposal to regulate mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants is essentially the same as one discussed and rejected by the Clinton White House." LINK

Politics:

The AARP backs out of some forums on Social Security it was planning to do with the White House. LINK

With Senator John Breaux is off to play "tennis in Bermuda on weekends," the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook looks at the two congressmen eyeing the seat. LINK

"A key question is whether GOP gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal would make a run for the Senate. State party officials who are backing [Republican Congressman David] Vitter do not expect Jindal to run."

ABCNEWS' Linda Douglass has learned about an interesting high-level Senate staff change worth Noting:

Phil Schiliro, the longtime senior aide to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is moving to the office of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle to become his policy director. The Policy Director is generally in charge of developing message and political strategy for the Democrats.

Schiliero has a reputation for being smart, tenacious and fiercely partisan. He helped put together the cases that that formed the basis for many of Waxman's attacks on the White House, such as his demand for investigations into Cheney's secret meeting with energy officials, the administration's use of the Niger/uranium claim to bolster its case for war, and Halliburton's alleged price-gouging on gasoline.

Democratic sources say Schilero's move to Daschle's office signals a tougher line coming from the Democrats next year.

Daschle's new communications director, Todd Webster, is also telling reporters to expect a new get-tough approach from the Democratic Leader. He told ABCNEWS, "There is a perception that Democrats keep getting rolled … that we as a party need to stand up and fight. That's what we're going to do."

The New York Times ' ed board weighs in on Conn. Gov. John Rowland's summer house controversy, writing that "unless Mr. Rowland can quickly put to rest doubts about his honesty, he should turn the reins of government over to someone who is less distracted." LINK

The Florida bar has filed an ethics complaint against Gore recount attorney David Boies "based on his involvement in a seven-year legal battle between the owners of two Palm Beach lawn-care companies." LINK

Strom Thurmond's family has acknowledged that "Essie Mae Washington-Williams, a retired teacher living in Los Angeles is the daughter of Mr. Thurmond and a black woman who worked for his family as a maid nearly 80 years ago." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Fields and Foley revisit the administration's dedication to the privacy rights associated with the 2nd Amendment.

Media:

Barry Diller remained unswayed after having a "sit-down" with Al Gore refusing to "lift his veto over the sale of the News World International network from Vivendi Universal Entertainment" so the former Vice President and Howard Dean backer can you bring you the "Indie Channel." LINK

Coupling:

Congratulations, Senator D'Amato … on getting your age printed as 36. Oh yeah, we wish you and Katuria well too. LINK